Covid-19: Infections at Danish schools reach record level

Cases of Covid-19 amongst school children in Denmark are currently at a higher level than at any previous time during the pandemic.

Seven schools in Denmark are currently closed due to Covid-19 outbreaks..
Seven schools in Denmark are currently closed due to Covid-19 outbreaks..File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

According to a report from the national disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), last week saw the infection rate for children aged 6-11 years reach 1,328 per 100,000, the highest recorded in Denmark.

“It’s clear to see that it’s children who are currently carrying infections and we are also seeing that they are passing them on to families and close contacts,” SSI departmental medical consultant Rebecca Legarth said in a statement.

“So although children maybe do not get so sick with Covid-19, people close to them can get infected and get sick,” Legarth said.

A number of outbreaks have been reported at Danish schools. Just under 200 schools reported possible outbreaks last week, particularly in younger and intermediate age groups. Denmark allows vaccination of children aged 12 years and above.

Seven schools – in Sorø, Herlev, Frederikssund, Odense, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen and Gentofte – are currently closed due to coronavirus outbreaks, according to Danish Patient Safety Authority data.

The infection rate for the Danish population in general is currently 388 per 100,000 residents, less than one third of the rate for children. But this should be seen in context with the fact that children are not vaccinated.

According to SSI, the infection rate for people vaccinated against Covid-19 is currently 279 per 100,000 residents. For unvaccinated people, the figure is 834 per 100,000 residents.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Children amongst most infected in Denmark as new 2021 record set

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Denmark’s Covid-19 hospitalisation figure ‘could reach 750’ in December

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark could increase to 750 this month, according to a projection from an official expert group.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The expert group for mathematical modelling, which is attached to the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released the estimate on Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, 449 patients with Covid-19 are admitted to hospitals in Denmark. The figure has been increasing in recent weeks but is still some way short of the peak hospitalisation figures from the winter 2020 wave, which exceeded 900.

“There are not catastrophic conditions yet but we have a combination of a tangible lack of nurses combined with this strain (of high patient numbers). It is clearly putting pressure on hospitals,” Kasper Karmark Iversen, senior medical consultant and professor at the University of Copenhagen and Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, told news wire Ritzau earlier this week.

The mathematical expert group calculates possible scenarios in which coronavirus restrictions could be phased out.

“The projections show a continued increase in the number of hospitalisations,” said the head of the group, Camilla Holten Møller.

“New hospitalisations of 70-200 per day and 550-750 in hospital (in total) are estimated up to the middle of December,” Møller said.

The figure for new hospitalisations does not account for discharged patients and therefore does not reflect the overall change in the total number of patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The expert group also predicts between 3,400 and 8,300 new cases of the virus daily by the middle of December. The group notes that its projections do not take into account the vaccination drive launched by the government this week. They also only partly account for anti-infection measures already in place, such as Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) requirements and face mask rules.

A total of 4,559 new Covid-19 cases were reported in SSI’s daily update on Friday. The total comes from 196,932 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.32 percent.

Daily cases have now been over 4,000 for six consecutive days. Friday’s positivity rate is a little lower than the typical rate seen this week, which is closer to 2.50.